Monday, January 16, 2012

Cruising the Neighbourhood, plus reviews of Wine and a Restaurant


Interesting new sculpture on west side of Isla

It's always fun to see what's new on the island when we are out walking in the early evening. 

We left our house around 4:30 in the afternoon and headed towards town, eventually wrapping around the airport to walk along the west side of the island.






New stamped concrete sidewalk and seawall on west side

We ambled along while I snapped photos of the seawall re-construction project, admiring the white stamped concrete walkways, white stone walls, and the new fishing boat sculpture.

When completed it will be a beautiful place to seat and watch the sunsets.






On our walk we eventually made our way to the new Bahia Tortuga Bar (Turtle Bay) just to have a peak at this new facility. 

new - Bahia Tortuga Bar

It is located about two lots north of the ever-popular Soggy Peso Bar & Grill.  Danny, the owner, has created a beautiful setting for the bar.  

And, some of you may remember J-J, the very tall and very pleasant young man who worked last year at the Soggy Peso as a bartender.  He's the new bar manager for the Bahia Tortuga Bar. 

Beautiful sunsets from this location as well.








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Wine!  by Lawrie Lock

The Curse of the Tropics

I know - you think all is perfect down here in paradise.  I assure you it's not!  Wine (my little vice) in the tropics has a shelf life that is decidedly short, especially white wine. 

My favourite white wine is a Sauvignon Blanc, and it's a good example of why I don't buy anything over two years old.  The fruit flavours and citrus overtones fade when the wine is too old, or has been mistreated in transit.  A hint for you, if you see a white wine that is lemon yellow in colour when viewed in a bottle or poured in a glass - stay away.  It is old, has no flavour, and just plain nasty to drink!  The exceptions are the big, oaked, Chardonnays from Australia and California.  French Chardonnays are typically not "oaked" and should be light in colour, not lemon yellow.


 Our favourite: Sauvignon Blanc, and a Chardonnay
So now that it's 2012, for white wine, I buy nothing older than 2010.  The date on the bottle is when the grapes were harvested.  And you have to remember that when you are looking at wine from south of the equator such as New Zealand, Chile, and Argentina, their seasons are opposite of ours.  Their winter is our summer and vice versa which means that the wine is six months older than when calculating for our northern seasons.  A good Chardonnay can be a bit older but will also lose its fruit characteristics with heat and rough treatment.


Recommendations for Sauvignon Blanc in Mexico
Argentina - Secreto
Chile - Santa Rita Medalla Real 
Chile - Santa Rita 120
New Zealand - Kim Crawford
New Zealand - Nobilo

For the reds, again use caution when buying.  Nothing over three years old.  Yeah, I know, in Canada, the US, and Europe this would be considered to be a very young red wine.  Remember the temperature in the tropics is hot all year around.  The bigger stores may be nice and cool with air conditioning, but the un-refrigerated truck that brought the wine to your city traveled over miles of highways and rough local roads pitted with pot holes, through temperatures of 120F or 40C.  Not good for wine!  Rough treatment will prematurely age wines.

Recommendations for reds in Mexico
Australia - Cabernet or Shiraz
Chile - Malbec, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot
France - most of the reds, but watch the dates
USA - Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon

So, remember drink fast and often.  You don't want the wine to go bad. 
(Did I say that?)

(Lawrie, has in a previous life, managed several gourmet restaurants, and he managed a winery in the Okanagan Valley of Canada.  He wrote a weekly wine column in Canada for three years. He enjoys wine!)

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Restaurant Review:

This year there has been a rash of new restaurant openings, so many in fact that a group of us decided we would try one new place each week. 


Almar, recently re-opened

Almar Restaurante, located at Casa Suesnos on Carretera Garrafón. (It's on the southwest side of Isla.)

Out of a possible 1 to 5 Forks for each category - the results have been averaged for the 6 people who voted:




Food:                     4 Forks - mixed reviews, some good and some not
Ambiance:              5 Forks - beautiful spot on the west side of the island
Service:                  3 Forks - inattentive
Wine:                     2 Forks - a choice of one red and one white

1 order of Beef Fajitas - good
1 order of Fish and Chips - good
3 orders of Fish with Tamarind Sauce - okay, but not great
1 order of Quesadillas - good

Total for 6 people, with two bottles of Chilean wine, and 4 beers = $2200.00 pesos (before we added on the tip).


4 comments:

Anonymous said...

Enjoy reading all your posts but now . . . Wow, loving your wine recommendation and the restaurant review so very much needed. Thanks to each and every one of you for your input and keep 'em coming.

We'll be on the island Wednesday -- hope our paths will cross.

Carol from Michigan

Lynda said...

Hi Carol - thank you for the positive comments! My husband wrote the wine review! He's pretty good at the wine 'stuff'.
Cheers
Lynda

Anonymous said...

Hi Lynda, just curious if you can buy Santa Rita and Kim Crawford right on the island (Chedraui?), or do you have to go to Cancun for that? We're coming for a week long visit at the end of this month and curious about local wine options. Thank you!

Nataliya

Lynda said...

Hi Nataliya - We can buy Santa Rita 120 at Chedraui, but you have to be fast, very fast, as the restaurants typically buy it up! As for the Kim Crawford it was always available at Costco, until quite recently. The wine buyer let a few bottles get too old and nasty so people stopped buying it. Perhaps if enough requests were made they would restock the product. The same thing happened with the other good Sauv-Blanc, Monkey Bay from NS. About 20 bottles sat, and sat, and sat for three years before Costco finally tossed it out. It's too bad their wine buyers don't realize that white wines can't survive that long, especially in hot conditions. Cheers Lynda & Lawrie